1.11 Oral health

This measure reports on teeth and gum problems, and hospitalisations for dental problems.

Why is it important?

The 2 most common oral diseases are tooth decay and gum disease. If left untreated, these can cause discomfort and tooth loss, affecting a person’s ability to eat, speak and socialise (Williams et al. 2011). Oral diseases can exacerbate other chronic diseases (Jamieson et al. 2010) and are associated with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, stroke and pre‑term low birthweight (Roberts‑Thomson et al. 2008; Williams et al. 2011).

Related measures

Data sources

  • Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey
  • Child Dental Health Survey
  • Child Health Check Initiative Dental Data
  • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
  • National Hospital Morbidity Database
  • Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory dental data
  • Medicare Data


  • Jamieson L, Roberts‑Thomson K & Sayers S 2010. Risk indicators for severe impaired oral health among Indigenous Australian young adults. BMC Oral Health 10:1–11.
  • Roberts‑Thomson KF, Spencer AJ & Jamieson LM 2008. Oral health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Medical Journal of Australia 188:592.
  • Williams S, Jamieson L, MacRae A & Gary C 2011. Review of Indigenous oral health. Perth: Edith Cowan University, Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.